Bricklin SV-1 car

Bricklin car

The Bricklin SV-1 was a sports car with gullwing doors created by Malcolm Bricklin, an American millionaire who also funded the Subaru production. The Bricklin car was a comparatively short-lived brand and was produced in Saint John, New Brunshwick, Canada from 1974 to early 1976 for the U.S. market. During this period, no more than 2,854 cars were constructed before the company went into receivership. Recent estimates indicate that roughly 1,500 Bricklin cars survived into the 21st century.

Ever wondered what the SV-1 part of the name Bricklin SV-1 stands for? SV-1 is actually an abbreviation of Safety Vehicle One, a trait that might be more strongly associated with cars like the Swedish Volvo than with American Sports Cars. The Bricklin SV-1 was however very safe compared to other sports cars and featured an integrated roll cage, side beams and 5 mph bumpers. Malcolm Bricklin believed that smoking while driving was an unsafe habit, and the Bricklin SV-1 was consequently sold without cigarette lighter and ashtray.

The body of the Bricklin SV-1 consisted of fibreglass with bonded acrylic and could be purchased in five different colours: red, white, green, orange and suntan. The engine for the 1974 model was an AMC 360 in³ (5899 cm³) V8. Later models switched to the Ford 351 in³ (5752 cm³) Windsor V8. The high performance V8 was actually presented as another safety feature, because in case of an impending accident, the V8 would be strong enough to power the car out and away from the hazard.

The suspension of the Bricklin SV-1 was independent in the front and utilized A-arms and coil springs, while the rear suspension relied on leaf springs on a live axle. For the year of 1974, you could choose between automatic transmission and four-speed manual transmission. Out of 772 cars, only 137 had the manual transmission. For the years of 1975 and 1976, only automatic transmission Bricklin SV-1 cars were produced.

The main reason behind the Bricklin SV-1 failure was a high price combined with quality problems. The gull-wing doors did not only weigh 45 kilograms each; they also leaked and the electro-pneumatic system for raising the heavy doors was poorly designed. It was easy to become locked out, the headlights was known to frequently refuse to pop up and the acrylic plastic bodyshell had problems with cracks and warping.

If you want to see one of the few remaining Bricklin cars, you can for instance take a trip to the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford, Somerset in England, since this museum is home to a wonderful red Bricklin. If you live on the other side of the Atlantic, you can instead head for Saskatchewan, the middle of Canada's three prairie provinces. An orange Bricklin car is there displayed at the Western Development Museum in Moose Jaw. There is naturally also a Bricklin on display at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The Bricklin SV-1 car has been featured in a lot of movies, including the following:

Demon Seed (1977)
Fast Company (1979)
The Junkman (1982)
Deadline Auto Theft (1983)
Cannonball Run II (1983)
Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983).
Eruption (1987)
Hawk Jones (1988)
Up! Up! And Away! (2001)

 

 

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